Denise Wager | November 23, 2018
“You never think about freedom until it is taken away from you.”
Emotional and raw, Anthony Ray Hinton told his story to an overflowing crowd of law students, undergraduate students, and community members at Notre Dame Law School’s McCartan Courtroom on Tuesday.
Walter Jean-Jacques, a second-year law student who serves as the vice president of the Notre Dame Exoneration Project, was instrumental in bringing Hinton to the Law School for this student-led event. "This past summer, I was an Equal Justice America Fellow and Nationals Lawyers Guild-Haywood Burns Fellow at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. During one of my assignments, I was able to meet Mr. Hinton and hear him speak. I knew I had to invite him to come and share his story at Notre Dame."
Hinton spent 30 years on Alabama’s death row for crimes he didn't commit. He talked about his wrongful conviction, his decades in prison, and the lingering effects he has experienced after leaving prison.
He left Notre Dame Law students with a challenge to serve justice.
In a booming voice he asked the audience, “How is it that we have a system that allows an innocent man, regardless of race, creed, or color, to spend 30 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit?”
Hinton described an Alabama judicial system rampant with racism and injustice, a system with no concern about whether someone was wrongfully incarcerated. And he blames that system for his 30 years on death row.
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